Author Archives: Mark Brown Arts correspondent

Peter O’Toole personal archive heads to University of Texas

Exclusive: Letters, manuscripts, photographs and props have been acquired by university in Austin for $400,000

The personal archive of Peter O’Toole, including bundles of letters, unpublished manuscripts, photographs and props, has been acquired by the University of Texas in Austin for $400,000.

O’Toole, who died aged 81 in 2013, was as well known for his hellraising and his enormous appetite for alcohol as he was for his memorable performances including his career-defining role in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia.

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Rogue One star Felicity Jones gets photo in National Portrait Gallery

London gallery commissions new portrait of actor, who also appeared in The Archers for 10 years

She has journeyed from Ambridge, which was rocked by her character’s wild affairs with both the young Grundy brothers, to Hollywood, where she is one of the most exciting and in-demand stars.

From 2017 the Birmingham-born actor Felicity Jones will also take her place in the National Portrait Gallery in a new commission through the John Kobal new work award.

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Historical erotica becomes available at British Film Institute

Online collection called The Pleasure Principle includes Victorian Lady in Her Boudoir, Britain’s oldest erotic movie

More than a dozen examples of British erotica are being made available to view by the British Film Institute (BFI).

Related: Rex appeal: the literary attraction of dinosaur erotica

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‘We need Mr & Mrs in 200 years’: why the BFI is saving 100,000 old TV shows

Gems of bygone era have already been digitised but now the BFI is hoping to preserve lesser known shows at risk of being lost

An estimated 100,000 British television programmes – which could include early editions of TV-AM, children’s series such as Tiswas, and fondly remembered, for some, episodes of Border TV’s Mr & Mrs – are to be digitised to prevent them being lost forever.

The British Film Institute has announced the mass digitisation project to save programmes which are held on obsolete video formats, warning that there are only five or six years left to save those most at risk.

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No lightsabers allowed as Star Wars exhibition lands in London

Visiting stormtroopers are obliged to remove their helmets to view props, models and artwork from Lucas museum

“If you’re a super nerd, you’re going to freak out in five seconds,” promises Laela French, surrounded by more than 200 props, costumes, models and artwork from one of the most popular film franchises of all time.

French is director of archives at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts, based at George Lucas’s Skywalker ranch in California. The museum is not open to the public, “which is why we do these touring exhibitions, it is the only way we can share this collection”, she said.

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Steve McQueen to receive British Film Institute fellowship

Director of 12 Years a Slave is ‘humbly honoured’ on becoming youngest director to be awarded BFI’s highest accolade

Steve McQueen, the visual artist and maker of three award-winning feature films, is to receive the British Film Institute’s highest accolade.

McQueen will become the youngest director to receive the BFI fellowship when it is presented to him at the awards ceremony of the London film festival on 15 October, six days after his 47th birthday.

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Mulholland Drive leads the pack in list of 21st century’s top films

BBC Culture poll of 177 film critics around the world puts David Lynch’s 2001 surrealist masterpiece in top spot

David Lynch’s surrealist masterpiece Mulholland Drive, which even its most ardent fans admit is as maddeningly baffling as it is mesmerising, has been named the greatest film of the 21st century.

A poll by BBC Culture of 177 film critics from 36 countries aimed to find the best films of recent memory.

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Spectre the most complained about film in 2015, say UK censors

BBFC received 40 complaints about 12A rating for James Bond film featuring eye gouging and head drilling

A gruesome eye-gouging scene in Spectre helped make the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise the most complained about film of 2015, British film censors have said.

The offending scene, set in a villains’ conference room, shows a henchman banging his victim’s head on a table before getting to work on his eyes, and had been toned down before the film’s release on the advice of the British Board of Film Classification.

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Sci-fi teleports into the mainstream with Barbican exhibition

Summer 2017 show will include concept art and models from the films Godzilla, Stargate and Dark City

The journey of science fiction from niche to mainstream popular culture is to be explored in a major exhibition that will run the gamut from Jules Verne to Godzilla to Star Wars.

The Barbican centre in London announced the details of a sci-fi exhibition, which would, it said, be unprecedented in terms of scale and ambition using film, music, literature and visual art to explore the subject across the art centre’s full estate.

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British Film Institute receives mystery £87m donation to build new HQ

Undisclosed donor revives long-held plan for BFI to move out of 1950s building on London’s South Bank

Plans for a new national centre for film and television on London’s South Bank are back on after a mystery investor offered £87m of the £130m project cost.

The British Film Institute (BFI) proposal had been backed personally by Gordon Brown and the last Labour government, which promised £45m of public money. But the financial crisis and change of government led to the commitment being withdrawn.

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BFI releases online film collection documenting British rural life

More than 750 films focusing on 20th-century British countryside traditions and customs made available on internetThey were more innocent times when it was acceptable to throw heated coins at children on Boxing Day or adopt a young seal and keep it in … Continue reading

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Double agents? Elba and Hiddleston bond at the Baftas

Two actors repeatedly named as favourites to take over from Daniel Craig as the next 007 come face to face at awards

It was Elba versus Hiddleston, a Bond-off between two actors repeatedly named as favourites to take over from Daniel Craig as the next 007.

They met, they hugged, they nearly came to blows. The encounter at Sunday’s Bafta ceremony was, of course, good humoured, both men parodying the supposed rivalry. The images were captures by Guardian photographer Sarah Lee, who was granted exclusive backstage access at the awards.

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Film director Peter Greenaway calls for ‘image-based cinema’

Peter Greenaway complains to Bafta audience that cinema is ‘always going back to the bookshop’ for content

“This is probably a very unpopular thing to say,” the director Peter Greenaway has said, “but all film writers should be shot.”

The provocative call to arms, although not literal arms, was made by Greenaway to an audience at the headquarters of Bafta.

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Film director Peter Greenaway calls for ‘image-based cinema’

Peter Greenaway complains to Bafta audience that cinema is ‘always going back to the bookshop’ for content

“This is probably a very unpopular thing to say,” the director Peter Greenaway has said, “but all film writers should be shot.”

The provocative call to arms, although not literal arms, was made by Greenaway to an audience at the headquarters of Bafta.

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Carol named best LGBT film of all time

Todd Haynes’ lesbian love story, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, tops poll of over 100 film experts

Todd Haynes’ atmospheric lesbian love story, Carol, has been named the best LGBT film of all time in a top 30 list that stretches back to 1931.

Carol, which came out last year and stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, came top of a poll compiled to mark the 30th anniversary of the London lesbian and gay film festival, now called BFI Flare.

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Hugh Grant awarded British Film Institute fellowship

‘Hugh always pulls off the hardest thing of all – a seemingly effortless performance,’ says BFI chairman

The “comic timing, ironic self-deprecating and very British charm” of Hugh Grant has been celebrated by the British Film Institute which on Tuesday evening bestowed on him its highest honour.

Grant was given a BFI fellowship, following in the footsteps of British actors who include Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, John Hurt, Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Michael Caine.

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Epic five-hour silent film Napoleon to be released on DVD

Remastered 1920s masterpiece by Abel Gance, once thought lost and now re-scored by Carl Davis, will also have a cinematic run

Napoleon, Abel Gance’s five-and-a-half-hour epic from the silent-movie era, has been digitally restored and is to be released on DVD and in cinemas.

The BFI has announced details of a new chapter in the remarkable history of the 1927 French film, which was feared lost until the film historian Kevin Brownlow set about piecing it together by tracking down surviving prints more than 60 years ago.

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Ian McKellen: why has no openly gay man ever won an Oscar?

The actor, twice nominated for an Academy award, joins diversity debate saying homophobia is as much a problem as racism in Hollywood

Ian McKellen, the veteran British actor who found global fame through the Lord of the Rings movies, has cautioned that homophobia is as much of an issue among Academy voters as racism. Commenting on Monday on the current row over the lack of diversity among both Oscar voters and this year’s nominees, McKellen suggested prejudice was the reason no openly gay man had ever received an Academy award for best actor.

Related: Steve McQueen on the Oscars whitewash: ‘I’m hoping we can look back and say this was a watershed moment’

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‘I’m interested in his Murrayness’: Bill Murray exhibition opens in Gateshead

Artist Brian Griffiths says it was Hollywood star’s attitude that inspired him to create the show at the Baltic centre for contemporary art

A20-metre image of Bill Murray looks out over the river Tyne; inside the Baltic centre for contemporary art the actor is everywhere for an exhibition he probably knows little about.

“I’m interested in his Murrayness,” explains Brian Griffiths, responsible for the show, Bill Murray: A Story of Distance, Size and Sincerity, which imagines the pastimes of the Hollywood actor.

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Sotheby’s unveils first ever Star Wars collectibles auction

Including a Luke Skywalker action figure of which only 20 have been confirmed, the sale is to coincide with release of new film

Sotheby’s, for nearly three centuries the auction house for the world’s most expensive art, finest wines and priciest jewellery, will next month offer something just as rare: an action figure of Luke Skywalker with double-telescoping lightsaber.

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